Analysis by Keith Rankin.
Here I include three European countries and three others well known for their Covid19 issues. Of the European countries, Switzerland was first to be hit, and did substantially suppress the epidemic. Sweden was hit for a prolonged period, but eventually got the problem down to ‘acceptable’ levels. Slovakia – the only one of the three in the Eurozone of the European Union – had better Covid19 statistics than New Zealand until September 2020, but is now worst of all.
Of the others, United States clearly followed directly from Europe, but did not recover. Brazil followed later, slowly but more surely. South Africa – with its substantial early lockdown – took several months to exceed European death rates. But again, like Brazil and USA, South Africa was never really able to get on top of the disease. Further, in those mid-months of the year, it was winter in South Africa and Brazil.
The European ‘second wave’ really happened in October, and almost certainly contributed to the resurgence of Covid19 in the United States. Also, Switzerland, unlike in its first wave, became virtually helpless; Covid19 has raged there for three months. Sweden indeed did much better than Switzerland this time. Death rates have only just stabilised in USA and South Africa.
The arithmetic scale shows the most recent data in a more spectacular way, while making it look as though Europe had solved the Covid problem in the middle of the year. This chart does show – very starkly – the very recent tragedy in Slovakia.
It also shows just how dramatic the resurgence of Covid19 was in Switzerland. In the first chart, the resurgence could be spotted and tracked – and remedied – from day 200. In the second chart, nothing much seems to have happened in Switzerland until day 240.
We love to lampoon the likes of Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro, but many other countries’ political leaders had more spectacular covid outbreaks on their watches. In the case of Slovakia, the bigger political failing may be that of the European Union rather than that of the Slovakian government. I can only presume that Slovakia’s national health system is now completely overwhelmed.
In a few days I will do the same charts for another few countries, including Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. While Portugal is easily the worst affected ‘proper’ country this year, Gibraltar is even worse affected. Indeed Gibraltar – a British realm country – has now overtaken San Marino for the highest percentage of its population to die from Covid19.